Influence Sales Success With the Right Team

How well you sell isn't just up to you. Improve your performance by surrounding yourself with the right people.
Magazine Contributor
4 min read

This story appears in the June 2006 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

We often underestimate how much the people around us influence the way we sell. And I'm talking about everybody--employees, customers, vendors and so on. Their positive attitudes can become a tremendous resource for our efforts. When you're around people who not only exhibit an uplifting view of life, but also want to make every effort to help you reach your goals, then you have something special. As an entrepreneur, you are selling all the time--to your customers, your staff and anyone you come in contact with. So what can you do to get these people fired up for your cause? Here are three ways to get started:

1. Elevate their success. I'm always asking customers, vendors and even my own salespeople this question: Is there anything I'm not doing that I could be doing to help you sell better? The goal is to know what I can do to help support their efforts and help them reach their goals.

To get a reading of where they are and where they want to go, take a sheet of paper and write "Business Goals" at the top of one side and "Personal Goals" on the other. Have them fill it out; see what they come up with. Sometimes you know what their goals are, and other times you'll be very surprised. When we know what motivates the people around us, it helps us help them. When you have a sincere interest in other people's success, it's funny how it makes it easier for them to have an interest in yours. When we elevate other people's success, we elevate our own in the process.

2. Have a positive attitude. There's something magical about being around people who have an attitude of persistent enthusiasm for life. When I'm around people like that, their enthusiasm is contagious. We entrepreneurs have to be fired up about what we do so the people around us can become inspired. When I visit a company's sales force and walk around their office, I notice two types of environments. In one, the sales manager has high energy and enthusiasm for his work, and so does his team. In the other, the sales manager is always complaining and down on the company, its products and his people--and the same negative energy is found in his staff and sales team. Remember, your attitude has a direct impact on the people around you. If it's positive, the selling environment usually is, too.

3. Expect more. Raise the expectations of your people. How much do you believe in the people around you? It's a good question. There might be a few people you work with who should have been fired years ago. As a true entrepreneur, your sales game has to be on all the time. And when someone isn't carrying his or her weight month after month--and also seems to be sucking the energy out of you and everyone else around you--it might be a good time to help that person find a new career. The first time I fired someone, it wasn't easy. I actually liked the person. But he just wasn't cut out for sales. After letting him go, our sales team had record sales for the next three months. When you let people get away with poor results month after month, it sets the bar of expectations for everyone else. The lesson: The people we surround ourselves with impact how well we sell.

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